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Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films

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Cheyenne with his legendary co-star at a recent Academy screening of "Six Dance Lessons..."

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Cheyenne Jackson's gone Hollywood. Though the 39 year old actor and self proclaimed "Broadway Baby" came to fame via musicals like "All Shook Up" (Theater World Award, 2005) and "Xanadu" (Drama Desk nomination 2008) and promises to return, TV and film came calling soon thereafter and appear to have stuck. His most notable early filmed roles were as a heroic passenger in the Oscar-nominated true story United 93 (2006) and a recurring gig on Emmy favorite 30 Rock as Danny Baker, a singing actor with a voice so beautiful he gave Jenna Maroney "rage strokes."

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That first flush of mainstream success seemed to have been briefly eclipsed in the media by upheavals in his personal life, a divorce from his first husband and sobering up. But Cheyenne is eager to move on from that topic which he feels was overblown by the media. "Definitely with the gay press, it was rough there for a bit. Things were never not together; I think that's the misconception," he explains. Was it a rough patch? "I guess other people can think of it that way but to me it was just the next chapter. Time to clean up." 

And the next chapter is moving along well. After his brief note-perfect cameo in the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) he's filmed several more roles including a small part as half of a gay cop couple affectionately referred to as 'The Policewomen' in one of this year's very best films LOVE IS STRANGE (2014, reviewed here). Ira Sachs moving drama recently won a handful of Spirit Award nominations.

As a longtime fan of Cheyenne Jackson, I confess to an atypical case of the nerves during our phone interview from separate coasts. Cheyenne helpfully tells me to imagine him in his underwear, and we both laugh immediately realizing that is not going to help. 'No wait. Maybe not. Maybe not'.

 

NR: Things seems to be on a real uptick in terms of your movie career!

CHEYENNE JACKSON: I’ve really kind of thrown myself into film and it’s been great. Some make their way to theaters, some go video on demand, some get nominated for things. I live out here now so it’s easier.

NR: Your new film SIX DANCES IN SIX WEEKS just opened this weekend. We don't see Gena Rowlands in lead roles much these days but she's one of the most influential actors of all time. How did your casting happen and how nerve wracking was is to work with her?

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MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films" »


Mississippi Pastor Dresses His Horse In A Wedding Gown To Protest Gay Marriage Ruling: VIDEO

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The above image from WAPT-TV shows the Rev. Edward James outside the federal courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi, on Friday, with his horse, Charlotte, in a wedding dress. 

James, of Chapel M.B. Church, was protesting a recent ruling from a Mississippi federal judge striking down the state's bans on same-sex marriage, a decision James hopes the judge will reconsider based on his "ridiculous" protest. 

Horse-bride"Although (the protest) is ridiculous, so is the same-sex marriage status," James told The Clarion Ledger. "That's the point I'm trying to convey to Mississippians today, and I'm hoping that (U.S. District Court) Judge (Carlton) Reeves will reconsider his ruling and that Mississippi will stay a state that will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman."

James' signs read:

"THE NEXT UNNATURAL LAW: DO YOU TAKE THIS HORSE TO BE YOUR UNNATURAL WEDDED SPOUSE TO HAVE AND TO HOLD? THIS MIGHT EVEN BE POSSIBLE IF THE BAND (sic) ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS LIFTED. 'WHERE TO DO WE DRAW THE LINE?'

"MARRIAGE IS ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN ANYTHING ELSE IS A PERVERSION."  

In a post mocking James, the Human Rights Campaign notes that he's hardly the first opponent of same-sex marriage to suggest that gay nuptials will lead to man-horse unions: 

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said, “The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable. Matter of time,”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) once asked, “Or why not, you know, somebody has a love for an animal or-? There is no clear place to draw a line once you eliminate the traditional marriage.”

Rick Santorum told the Associated Press, “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever, to my knowledge, included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

And Virginia’s Republican nominee for Lt. Governor E.W. Jackson warned the crowd during a sermon that if they don’t stop “Adam and Steve” it is going to “soon be Adam and a bull.”

I'd hate to lump James in the same category with those folks — he seems far more creative, and I commend him for giving us a break from those tired "death to gays" sermons. I'm also pretty sure James is just trying to get some publicity for his church, whose Facebook page hasn't been updated in over three years.

But James' protest does make you wonder whether the good pastor actually read Judge Reeves' 72-page decision. The decision, which has been stayed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, compared the same-sex marriage bans to prohibitions on interracial marriage and discussed in detail how gays were targeted along with African-Americans by groups like the Klu Klux Klan. 

Oh well, at least Charlotte got some fresh grass. 

Watch a video report from The Clarion Ledger, AFTER THE JUMP ...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Mississippi Pastor Dresses His Horse In A Wedding Gown To Protest Gay Marriage Ruling: VIDEO" »


Federal Judge Declines To Allow Gay Marriages In Texas Pending Appeal

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A federal district judge on Friday declined to lift his stay of a ruling striking down Texas' same-sex marriage bans

The decision from Judge Orlando L. Garcia means same-sex marriages won't be allowed pending an appeal of the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court. 

Last month, plaintiff same-sex couples asked Garcia to lift the stay since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of decisions overturning marriage bans from other federal appeals courts. Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is defending the marriage bans, responded that lifting the stay would be "deeply offensive." 

In rejecting the motion to lift the stay, Garcia noted that the Supreme Court has never declined to impose a stay on same-sex marriages in a state where a circuit court hasn't resolved the issue. He also noted that the 5th Circuit recently granted a stay of a ruling striking down Missisippi's same-sex marriage ban: 

"Lifting the stay would not bring finality to this Fourtenth Amendment claim. To the contrary, such action would only be temporary, with confusion and doubto folow. The day for finality and legal certainty in the long and dificult journey for equality is closer than ever before. Ultimately, as mentioned in the February 12, 2014 hearing, this Court believes the isue wil ultimately be resolved by the United States Supreme Court and 'a group of five people will decide this case.' Acordingly, Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED."

The 5th Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Texas and Mississippi cases — as well as one from Louisiana — on Jan. 9. 

Read Garcia's full order denying the motion to lift the stay, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Federal Judge Declines To Allow Gay Marriages In Texas Pending Appeal " »


Australia Appoints First Openly Gay Territory Leader Andrew Barr

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Andrew Barr has become Australia’s first openly gay government leader after he was appointed leader of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) yesterday, reports ZeeNews.

Barr was appointed after Katy Gallagher stepped down from the role last week.

Barr said that he would continue to be a passionate advocate for same-sex marriage.

Act"It is quite ironic that you can be elected Chief Minister but you can't marry your partner of 15 years. It's time that this discrimination is ended in this country and I will continue to be a loud and passionate voice for that change.

"Canberra is Australia's most LGBTI-friendly city. I hope for the day when it is entirely unremarkable when someone in political leadership heading a government is openly gay or lesbian or bi-sexual or otherwise.

"We are inclusive and we strive to ensure that all of our citizens are treated equally and I look forward to the day when we can say that about our country."

The ACT voted to support same-sex marriage last year but the High Court later struck down the law, ruling that the federal parliament must decide on same-sex unions.

Although his party is opposed to same-sex marriage, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been urged to allow a conscience vote on the issue. A 2012 vote on the issue was defeated 98 to 42 after Abbott refused to allow his MPs a conscience vote.

A new bill legalizing same-sex marriage was introduced in the Australian parliament last month.


Kansas Lawmakers Aim To Revive 'License To Discriminate' Bill Because Gay Marriage Is 'Gravely Evil': VIDEO

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A gay Kansas man who got married on the steps of the courthouse in a public ceremony last month was fired two days later after his boss saw him on the news, according to Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas. 

But Terry Fox, pastor of Wichita's Summit Church, wants to ensure that this type of discrimination remains perfectly legal. Fox is among those pushing Kansas lawmakers to revive a "license to discriminate" bill in the upcoming legislative session. 

"As the courts ignore the people's definition of marriage we need more protection to not have to violate our core Christian values," Fox told KWCH-TV

FitzgeraldThe bill passed the House earlier this year but died in the Senate after lawmakers were flooded with angry phone calls and emails, The Wichita Eagle reports. Some legislators — like Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth (right) — apparently haven't learned their lesson, and now they're emboldened by the arrival of marriage equality in Kansas: 

He says the bill is meant to protect religious Kansans from lawsuits. He pointed to a recent case in New York State in which owners of a farm that regularly hosts weddings were fined $13,000 for refusing to let a lesbian couple hold their wedding there.

“So what you’ve got is we’ll sue you and take everything you can get unless you participate in and help us celebrate what you consider to be gravely evil,” Fitzgerald said. 

In fact, Fitzgerald believes the bill should even extend to public employees, which could lead to police and firefighters refusing to help same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs: 

“Should a judge be required to perform a ceremony? A question for you,” Fitzgerald said. “The basic question is regardless of your employment should you be forced, compelled, coerced, made under force of law or threat of suit, to go against your own morals?”

The fact that the bill would have extended to public employees was one of the reasons it was halted by Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who said at the time that "public service needs to remain public service for the entire public.”

And even Republicans who supported the bill, including House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, have said they regret the decision and appear reluctant to revisit the topic.   

Unfortunately, that probably won't stop someone like Fitzgerald from reintroducing the measure, and with anti-gay Gov. Sam Brownback at the helm, anything's possible.

Brownback is refusing to recognize same-sex marriages despite a federal judge's decision saying state law violates gay couples' right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

As for that ruling, Fitzgerald had this to say:  

“So we’re to believe that the Reconstruction Congress was anxious to spread sodomy throughout the states at the time? That was the intent of the 14th Amendment due process clause?”

Watch KWCH-TV's report, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Kansas Lawmakers Aim To Revive 'License To Discriminate' Bill Because Gay Marriage Is 'Gravely Evil': VIDEO" »


Texas AG Greg Abbott Says Gay Marriages During Appeal Would Be 'Deeply Offensive'

Abbott.GregTexas Attorney General Greg Abbott says it would be "deeply offensive" for same-sex marriages to be allowed during his appeal of a federal district judge's ruling striking down the state's marriage bans. 

Abbott made the comments during a press conference Monday where he unveiled his agenda and staff as governor, the Associated Press reports: 

The governor-elect didn’t mention gay marriage until he was asked about the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which next month will hear a case in which a judge in February struck down Texas’ ban.

Some advocates have asked other Texas judges to begin performing gay marriages pending the appeal, but Abbott said that would be “deeply offensive” since it “would be a clear rebuke of the 5th Circuit’s jurisdiction.”

U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia stayed his decision striking down the marriage bans pending Abbott's appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court, which has set the case for oral arguments Jan. 9.

However, last month same-sex plaintiff couples asked Garcia to lift the stay pending the appeal, and last week, some county clerks in Texas said they are prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Meanwhile, the 5th Circuit stayed a decision striking down Mississippi's marriage ban, which prompted another court filing from Abbott arguing that Garcia should leave his stay in place. 

Nevertheless, WOIA reported Tuesday that Garcia is under "increasing pressure" to lift the stay. 

An appeals court is set to consider the legality of the state law that bans gay marriage one month from today, but a Federal Judge in San Antonio is under increasing pressure to take steps to allow gay marriages to take place in Texas immediately, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

I'm not sure what they mean by "increasing pressure," but experts say the 5th Circuit's decision to stay the Mississippi ruling means it would almost certainly grant a new stay in Texas if Garcia were to lift his. The only question is whether there would be a window for marriages to occur, but given that Abbott likely already has his motion for a new stay drafted, that seems unlikely. 

Still, by going around saying it would be "deeply offensive" for marriages to occur and proclaiming who has jurisdiction to perform them, Abbott may only be tempting Garcia to lift the stay.  

After all, the most "deeply offensive" things about this case are Abbott's arguments against marriage equality.  


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